HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – An undefeated run at the 2019 USA Softball Men’s Class A Slow Pitch National Championship earned Thunder/E.G.L. Foundation/Gillies Softball the title of National Champion. Defeating Precision/H.Auto/Sprizzi 21-12 in the Championship Game, it was the second meeting between the two teams in the last 12 hours after a winners’ bracket finale went well into the midnight hour but ultimately ended with the same result: a Thunder victory.
Men's Class A Slow Pitch All-Americans
Infield: Jeremy Yates – Precision/H.Auto/Sprizzi
Infield: Kyle Pearson – Thunder/E.G.L. Foundation/Gillies Softball
Infield: Greg Connell – Precision/H.Auto/Sprizzi
Infield: Dale Brungardt – TDB/FAI
Infield: David Johnson – Monsta Athletics/Black Sheep
Infield: Bryan Dezern – Monsta Athletics/Black Sheep
Infield: Shannon Smith – Thunder/E.G.L. Foundation/Gillies Softball
Infield: Cory Briggs – Thunder/E.G.L. Foundation/Gillies Softball
Infield: Jeff Flood – Precision/H.Auto/Sprizzi
Outfield: Patrick Ellwanger – Precision/H.Auto/Sprizzi
Outfield: Steele Lewis - TDB/FAI
Outfield: Jason Matuski – TDB/FAI
Outfield: Ben Dunn – Thunder/E.G.L. Foundation/Gillies Softball
Outfield: Brian McBryde - Thunder/E.G.L. Foundation/Gillies Softball
Pitcher: Travis Clark - Precision/H.Auto/Sprizzi
Batting Champion: Jeremy Yates
Home Run Champion: Dale Brungardt, David Johnson, Matt Fox (Monsta Athletics/Black Sheep)
Tournament MVP: Kyle Pearson
Led by Tournament MVP Kyle Pearson, Thunder outscored opponents 108-66 on their path to winning the title with two of their four wins coming by way of the run-rule.
Precision got out to an early lead in the top of the first inning with back-to-back solo home runs and a two-run shot that gave them a four-run edge. Thunder made contact with the ball in the bottom of the frame, but nothing made it through the gaps and the team was kept off the board.
Precision added to their lead with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, but a three-run home run by Brian McBryde cut Precision’s lead to 6-3 after two complete innings.
Thunder took the lead in the bottom of the third and never looked back as the team drove in 18 runs over the course of the next four innings of play. A pair of two-run home runs and two solo blasts gave Thunder the 9-6 lead.
Precision brought the game within one run in the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run and RBI single, but Thunder added two more to their run total, putting them up 11-8.
The offenses were silent in the fifth inning as a two-run home run by Precision and a solo home run by Thunder were all either side could muster at the plate.
Precision was kept off the board for the second time in the game in the top of the sixth, but Thunder put the game away with nine runs in the bottom of the frame. Two singles drove in two runs and a grand slam by Josh Fyffe put the home team up by eight runs. The offense continued with a three-run home run by Shannon Smith.
Down by 11 runs headed to their last at-bat of the game, Precision went out swinging with back-to-back singles, but a fly ball kept the runners at bay. A double by Chente Granados brought the runners home and a single from Brad Lunda put runners on the corners, but a pop fly and line drive ended the game with Thunder earning the 21-12 win.
McBryde and Fyffe led Thunder at the plate, both driving in five runs with a pair of home runs.
How the teams made it to the finals
Thunder landed in the Championship Game after going 3-0 through bracket play. Challenged in their first contest of the tournament, Thunder narrowly edged Dan Smith/Sonnys 30-28. With the help of a 14-run third inning, Thunder’s offense was limited to just one run through the last three innings of play.
A 32-16 (five inning) run-rule over Monsta Athletics/Black Sheep put Thunder in the winners’ bracket finale. Another explosive inning, this time a 13-run second inning, helped the squad take the lead early. Cory Briggs drove in eight runs off three home runs while Smith’s six RBI and two home runs led the offense.
Facing off against Precision with the winner advancing to the Championship, Thunder’s offense exploded for a 25-10 (five innings) win. Big offensive-innings, including 11 runs in the first, seven in the fourth and six in the fifth, helped the Thunder capture their second run-rule victory.
For Precision, a pair of one-run games landed the team in the winners’ bracket final. The team escaped with a 31-30 win over Anarchy/SIS/OA Apparel in their first game of the tournament after Travis Clark drove in the game-winning run. A game-winning single by Jeff Keske helped Precision to their second walk-off victory, this time a 34-33 win over TDB/FAI.
After dropping the 25-10 decision to Thunder, Precision faced Monsta Athletics in the third-place game where the offense erupted for a 23-7 (five inning) win. A 14-run outing in their first at-bat of the game set the tone as grand slams by Jeremy Yates, who was named Tournament Batting Champion, and Chente Granados led the offense.
About USA Softball
USA Softball (USAS) is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USAS sanctions competition through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations. USAS is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USAS annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USAS umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USAS is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USAS, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.